Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

University of Abomey-Calavi wins Grants to Implement Applied Research

Part of the project Team from Benin at 

Write-shop in Entebbe, Uganda
30 June 2015. The Regional Universities Forum for capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) acting under the auspices of the Platform for African European Partnerships in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) mobilized Research teams to prepare applications to respond to the Food & Business Applied Research Fund (ARF) Call for proposals.

As part of this effort, a write-shop was help in Entebbe, Uganda in November 2014. The ARF Call was particularly of interest because it provides for multi-stakeholder consortia engagements in integrated agricultural research for development and is an opportunity to promote linkages in research for development between knowledge centres (universities), public and private practitioners as well as research organisations to address aspects of applied research for innovation.

The Benin Consortia has won two projects in which the Dean of Faculty of Agronomic Sciences at the University of Abomey-Calavi (Prof Joseph Hounhouigan) will engage faculty members to work closely with stakeholders in the multi-stakeholder platform, particularly (SOJAGNON-NGO, led by Mr. Patrice Sewade) to implement two projects, described below:

  1. Matching grain quality attributes to the requirements of soybean processors in Benin (ProSeSS): In Benin, soy farmers hardly have access to quality seeds. Harvest shares are used as sowing seeds. Moreover, it is difficult to differentiate soy varieties, due to sale of mixtures. This project aims at improving the quality of soy seeds and soybeans. SOJAGNON-NGO, UAC/FSA, IITA. WU/MCB and REDAD will collaborate in this interdisciplinary and participatory project, and expect to deliver: a strategic plan for certified soy seed production; nine viable soy seed production enterprises; two master students; four scientific publications; a selection of end-product oriented and adapted soybean varieties; and guidelines for soybean varieties identification at farm and market level.The project activities and results will be disseminated through workshops, publications, technical manuals, and leaflets. The total Project budget is Euros 321.983 and it will last 36 months.
  2. Designing appropriate agronomic and processing practices for pineapple supply chains in Benin: Pineapple producers, fresh pineapple exporters, traders and processors face challenges in sale and export of fresh pineapple or derived products. The current project aims at improving the quality of fresh pineapple and pasteurised pineapple juice for local, regional and international markets. The project will combine crop sciences and food sciences to (i) determine appropriate agronomic practices to meet market requirements and (ii) determine appropriate processing technologies delivering stable pasteurised pineapple juice for local and regional markets. The Project Consortium include 2 research institutes, 1 private organisation and 1 public organisation. Budget is Euros 299,950 for 36 months.

The ARF is a subsidy scheme of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs created to improve the use of knowledge and encouraging innovation for development impact in the 15 partner countries of Dutch development cooperation. RUFORUM leads Work Package Capacities under the EU supported Project ‘Platform for African European Partnerships in Agricultural Research for Development’ (PAEPARD).

RUFORUM has under the auspices of PAEPARD also in addition to the Benin Consortia engaged and support other consortia in the ARF Call Round 1 to successfully win ARF projects. These include:

  1. More potatoes – Secure food in Burundi: Potato in sub-Saharan countries is rapidly becoming a crop that substantially contributes to food security and well balanced diets. As ‘seed’, potato tubers are planted that need special care to make sure they are well sprouted and avoid diseases. Research, development and knowledge transfer involving growers are aimed at this and is being implemented by a consortium of partners including the National University of Burundi. Budget is Euros 295,886 for 36 months.
  2. Indigenous African Vegetable systems for better livelihoods: Indigenous vegetables have unique production and nutritional characteristics that can solve a myriad of problems in sub-Saharan Africa. This project seeks to establish a robust Indigenous Vegetables value chain and incentive system that responds to the smallholder farmer conditions to increase production and access to the local, national and international markets. The University of Eldoret is actively engaged in implementation of this project.The total project budget is Euro 348,856 and it will last for 36 months.

Focus on ACDI/VOCA

ACDI/VOCA is an economic development organization that fosters broad-based economic growth, raises living standards, and creates vibrant communities.

The name ACDI/VOCA dates back to the 1997 merger of Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance. Both were nonprofit international economic development organizations founded by the U.S. cooperative community.

Based in Washington, D.C., ACDI/VOCA has worked in 146 countries since 1963. Its practice areas are agribusiness, food security, enterprise development, financial services, and community development.

ACDI/VOCA is a leading implementing partner of USAID’s Feed the Future programming.

Many of these projects are task orders under the Support for Food Security Activities (SFSA) Indefinite Quantity Contract, an effort to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in eastern and southern Africa. This five-year IQC provides USAID an efficient, rapid-response mechanism to fund bilateral and regional agricultural development and food security programs in countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa as well as Tanzania.

Current Projects
F2F volunteer, Paul Wojtkowski, at a meeting with 
banana producers in northern Dominican Republic
19 June 2015. PAEPARD meets Dr. Paul Wojtkowski in Accra on his return of his support to the Advance II project in Ghana.

As a leading proponent and analyst, Dr. Paul Wojtkowski shared with PAEPARD his vision of agroecology; both as an academic discipline and in how agriculture is practiced. A number of his books have affirmed the underlying motives, theories, and concepts. They have also proposed a large tally of quintessentially nature-friendly, farming practices. Although these efforts are deep in outlook, e.g., encompassing agriculture, forestry, and agroforestry, and broad in geographic scope, more insight is needed.

His book of 2007 - Agroecological economics - not only expresses important differences between human-directed agroecology and natural ecology, it also holds key acceptance standards.

Having observed agriculture in six continents and over 70 countries, Dr. Wojtkowski has seen what works and what doesn't. As a trained economist with advanced degrees in both agricultural and forest economics, he is able to take the next step; that of presenting agroecology as a fully-fledged science complete with its own economic underpinnings.

Investment Contracts for Agriculture: practical guidelines

Investment Contracts for Agriculture: Maximizing gains and minimizing risks
Carin Smaller, William Speller, Hafiz Mirza, Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, Grahame Dixie

Download English (556 kb)
Download French (1.66 MB)

23 June 2015. This joint IISD, World Bank and UNCTAD discussion paper marries two substantial bodies of research to show how investment contracts can be set up to promote sustainable development.

This is derived from empirical evidence gathered by UNCATD and the World Bank after visiting large-scale agricultural projects. The paper then proposes legal options to maximizing the main positive outcomes and minimizing the main downsides through better drafting of contracts between investors and governments for the lease of farmland. This is derived from work conducted by the IISD, which studied almost 80 contracts and produced a guide to negotiating contracts for farmland and water, including a model contract.

World Food System Conference 2015

21-26 June 2015. Zurich, Switzerland. This conference highlighted solution-focused, interdisciplinary, and system-oriented research and practice addressing how to feed the world while considering human health, the environment, and social well-being.

The aim was to bring together researchers and other food system stakeholders to exchange ideas, methodologies, success stories, and lessons learned. The conference

Sessions highlighted innovative research both within and at the intersections of four thematic focus areas (Sustainable Production Systems, Food for Health, Resilient Food Markets, and Whole Food System Approaches) offered a space for professional, empirically-driven dialogue that encouraged experts to interact across disciplinary and institutional boundaries.

The conference incorporated a workshop in which the participants explored how collaborative work on different aspects of the food system can be integrated under a comprehensive framework.

The conference was organized around the following thematic focus areas and their intersections:
  1. Sustainable Production Systems (establishing sustainable food production systems that are resilient in the face of increasing perturbations)
  2. Food for Health (design and processing for safe, accessible, high quality and healthy food and food products)
  3. Resilient Food Markets (creating and connecting to effective food markets that create value for all stakeholders)
  4. Whole Food System Approaches (tools, methods, frameworks designed to take a systems approach)
  • Gunda Zuellich, Millennium Institute Competing agricultural paradigms to feed a growing population in Kenya – An integrated system approach
  • Jonas Jörin, ETH Zurich and Ruthie Musker , ETH Zurich / UC Davis Framing resilience in the context of tef in Ethiopia
  • Jessica Agnew, University of Guelph The role of business in sustainably improving the nutritional status of the poor Kalpana Beesabathuni, Sight and Life Agricultural value chain analysis for developing affordable nutritious foods for women in Ghana
  • Emmanuel Frossard, ETH Zurich Biophysical, institutional and economic drivers of sustainable soil use in yam systems for improved food security in West Africa (YAMSYS)
  • Feriha Mugisha Mukuve, University of Cambridge Scale variability of water, land, and energy resource interactions in the food system in Uganda
  • Silas Okech-Ongudi, Egerton University Determinants of consumers’ choice and potential willingness to pay higher prices for biofortified pearl millet products in Kenya Conrd Murendo, Georg August University Göttingen Impact of mobile money technology on household food security in Uganda
  • Irene Kadzere, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Postharvest Management: Potential challenges for smallholder organic farmers in Kenya
  • Kate Scow, University of California, Davis Participatory research to identify irrigation technologies for horticulture for women and smallholder farmers in Eastern Uganda 
  • Christian Schader, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) The role of human-edible components in livestock feed for future food security, the environment and human diets
  • Gurbir Bhullar, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) Securing the food system together: Innovation development with the farmer, for the farmer, by the farmer
  • Beth Hoffman, University of San Francisco Driving sustainability or producing anxiety: The use of media in mobilizing consumers Gail Feenstra, University of California, Davis Using values-based supply chains to engage communities
Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (factsheet: PDF, 91 KB). The overall goal of the programme is to support excellent scientific research that contributes towards the solution of global problems.

Funded Food Security research: (28 May 2013 Call for proposals ; January 2014 Invitation to submit full proposals ; October 2014 Earliest start of research ; 2020 Completion of research projects). The emphasis of this thematic research module is therefore on the improvement of agricultural production and innovation systems in view of fostering a political, economic and societal framework for global food security.
  1. Building soil fertility: Farmer-driven organic resource management to build soil fertility: Ghana, Mali, Kenya, Zambia
  2. Sustainable yam cropping Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso
  3. Insects as feed Benin, Ghana, Burkina Faso
  4. Gender and the right to food Cambodia, Ghana
  5. Food sustainability Kenya, Bolivia
Funded Ecosystems research: (28 May 2013 Call for proposals ; January 2014 Invitation to submit full proposals ; October 2014 Earliest start of research ; 2020 Completion of research projects)
  1. Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes Cameroon, Colombia, Indonesia
  2. Telecoupled landscapes Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Madagascar
  3. Invasive species Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania

Monday, June 29, 2015

Echanges sur les partenariats OP-recherche-Etat

24-26 juin 2015. Dakar, Senegal. Le ROPPA, le CNCR et le CSA ont co-organisé dans le cadre du PAEPARD un atelier d’échange sur le thème du suivi des exploitations familiales.

C’est en particulier le thème du partenariat entre OP, recherche et Etat qui a été exploré, puisque ces acteurs partagent tous l’enjeu de mieux connaitre les exploitations familiales et leurs transformations.

Comment créer des synergies entre ces initiatives « paysannes » et « scientifiques », notamment pour éviter de dupliquer les efforts et de mieux valoriser les moyens disponibles, tout en renforçant le rôle des OP dans l’atteinte de la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique ? C’était la principale question posée par cet atelier.

Pour y répondre, l’atelier s'est basé sur plusieurs initiatives existantes (décrites ci-dessous) :
  • L’observatoire régional des exploitations familiales du ROPPA ; 
  • L’Observatoire des Agricultures du Monde (WAW : World Agriculture Watch) ; 
  • Les dispositifs paysans de suivi des exploitations familiales, notamment au Burkina, Mali, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire et avec un focus particulier sur le dispositif mis en place au Sénégal par le CNCR et le projet multi-pays PAMEF ; 
  • Les dispositifs étatiques de recensement agricole, en particulier celui mis en place au Sénégal par la Direction de l’Analyse, de la Prévision et des Statistiques Agricoles (DAPSA).
L’atelier a rassemblé des représentants d’OP, de la recherche et des services étatiques autour de trois
sessions d’échanges :
  • Bilan des activités de l’observatoire régional du ROPPA
  • Enjeux et méthodes de suivi des exploitations familiales pour les OP, la recherche et l’Etat
  • Mécanismes de collaboration entre OP, recherche et Etat sur le suivi des exploitations familiales
Les échanges entre parties prenantes ont permis d’envisager un partenariat entre Etat, OP et Recherche visant à suivre et comprendre conjointement les transformations de l’agriculture en cours et à venir, en nourrissant un
dialogue informé nécessaire au pilotage stratégique et servant aux OP dans le suivi et le conseil aux exploitations familiales.

Voir: Programme atelier 24-25-26 juin 2014-Comprendre les EF et leurs transformations(PDF - 434.9 ko)

Quels apports de la recherche et des services des statistiques agricoles aux dispositifs de suivi des EF ? A quelles conditions ?

  • présentation des expériences et des attentes des OP 
  • discussions/échanges
  • présentation des expériences et des attentes de la recherche et des services statistiques 
  • discussions/échanges

Potential of GMO for emerging and developing economies

19 June 2015. Gent, Belgium. Towards a generic market for genetically modified crops - Potential for emerging and developing economies.

Genetically Modified (GM) crops were commercially cultivated on over 180 M Ha in 2014, by both small and large-scale farmers. Since 2012, over half of the GM crops are cultivated in emerging and developing countries. Commercialized GM crops are protected by Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and governed by comprehensive (inter)national biosafety regulations.

The US patent on one of the first and most widely used GM crops, Roundup Ready soybean, recently expired. IPR on additional GM crop products will expire in the (near) future, thus opening the prospect of a GM crop generics industry. Similar to the pharmaceutical industry, the development of a generic market for GM crops could become a game-changer in the agricultural sector by providing GM crop products at reduced cost and by creating new opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises. This, in turn, could help address concerns by public interest groups related to GM crops and seed/food sovereignty.

The 2015 IIBN Forum brought together leading experts in the area of agricultural biotechnology to assess the opportunity and conditions for establishing a generic market for GM crops, in particular to support sustainable agricultural development in emerging and developing economies.
This international e-learning course is organized in cooperation with UNIDO as part of their e-Biosafety network and aims at training scientists and law specialists in biosafety expertise and evaluation both at governmental and industrial level. The course combines distance learning with on campus training at Ghent University.

The one year program, consisting of 8 modules, offers a solid base to set up and implement regulatory biosafety frameworks related to plant biotechnology, and assist in legislation and interpretation of biosafety risk assessment, risk management and communication to policymakers or the public.
Applications for the academic year 2015-2016 are open till August 31st 2015.

Future of European agricultural research and innovation

19 June 2015. Milan, Italy. The European Commission organised a workshop to launch the discussion on how it sees the future of European agricultural research and innovation until 2020 and, beyond, for the following decade.

The objective of this workshop was two-fold:
  • kick-start the discussion on a long-term strategy for the future of EU agriculture research and innovation, which is highly needed to address the challenges of tomorrow in a consistent and efficient way.
  • contribute to the discussion on the outcomes of EXPO Milan 2015 'Feeding the planet - energy for life' by providing views on agricultural research and innovation priorities.
View the final programme and the list of speakers.

Opening session
Session 1: A research agenda to produce more sustainably
Session 2: A research agenda for innovative rural areas
  • "New openings for rural growth" [2 MB] Richard Wakeford, Professor of Environment, Land Use and Rural Strategy, Birmingham City University; Director of Kazan Centre for Land Use and Sustainable Rural Development, former chair of the OECD working Party on Rural development
  • "Developing the human and social capital" [255 KB] Krijn Poppe, Senior Economist & Research Manager at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute LEI WUR; Chair of the SCAR working group on AKIS Discussion with the audience
Round table discussion: 
How to build a long-term strategy for EU agricultural research and innovation by 2020 and beyond? 
  • Claudia Sorlini, Chair of the department of food, environmental and nutritional science at University of studies of Milan, Member of the Steering Committee of the EU scientific programme for Expo Milano 2015 
  • Hans Herren, President and CEO at Millenium Institute – Former co-chair of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) 
  • Albert Jan Maat, President of Committee of Professional Agricultural Organisations (COPA) – Former Member of the European Parliament 
  • Anička Grosmanová, Leader of the international Slow Food Youth Network in Prague, Head of the Food Hub, Master Student at the Prague University of Life sciences 
  • Hervé Guyomard, Scientific Director for agriculture at the French national Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) 
  • Janny Vos, Director for Strategic Partnerships at CABI, manager of CABI office for Netherlands
Closing remarks: what are the next steps? – Aldo Longo, Director at European Commission, Directorate General for Agriculture and rural development

>> Watch the video recording of the workshop (move forward to 1:23:00 to watch the workshop from the start)

An agricultural research and innovation conference to be held in Brussels on 26th – 28th January 2016 in Brussels will close the process.

The EU DG Research strategy on food and nutrition security
The development of the EU DG Research strategy on food and nutrition security (started Milan 8 May) See for online consultation. The consultation will remain open for contributions until the 1st September 2015.
  • This is an expert paper, not a Commission paper and as such will not end up as a Communication from the Commission. 
  • The HLPD dialogue is another element that addresses the European vision on Food and Nutrition Security. These could come together on 15th October when two Commissioners will attend the final presentation of the expert paper. 
  • The Commission is thinking of working closer to food industry as food lacks a big flagship even though it is the biggest employer in the EU. There has been a problem that innovation has often been very secretive due to economic interests. Could there be something relevant for the public domain? Complicating factor is that SMEs are not well represented in Brussels. 
Other forthcoming events:
CAP-related events at Expo Milano 2015
  • 6 July 2015: "Geographical Indications in a globalised world: a win-win for producers and consumers"
  • 7-8 August 2015: "Global Food Security challenges" - Pre-conference event of the ICAE co-organised with the European Association for Agricultural Economists (EAAE) and the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium (IATRC)
  • 7 September 2015: "The Common Agricultural Policy and Young farmers" (title to be confirmed)
  • 7-15 September 2015: Week of DG Agriculture and Rural Development stakeholders: List of events [27 KB]
  • 24 September 2015: Workshop of the European Network for Rural Development (title to be confirmed)
  • 25 September 2015: Conference of the European Network for Rural Development (title to be confirmed)
  • 1 October 2015: Seminar on Quality policy and controls (title to be confirmed)
  • 2 October 2015: Seminar on Olive oil (title to be confirmed)
  • 14-15 October 2015: "Responsible EU agribusiness investments in ACP Countries" (title to be confirmed)
  • 20 October 2015: Seminar on the future of the CAP (title to be confirmed)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Planning Meeting for the Competitive Research Fund Projects

From right to left: Jonas M. MUGABE of PAEPARD-FARA; Yves GILLET of the Representation of the European Commission in  Benin ; Patrice SEWADE of SOJAGNON
23-25 June 2015. Cotonou, Benin. Under the Competitive Research Fund (CRF) and Incentive Fund (IF) PAEPARD is supporting 4 research projects:
  1. Re-engineered Soybean Afitin and Soybean Milk processing technologies in South and Central Benin (ProSAM). Benin 
  2. Effets des amendements organiques enrichis aux Trichoderma sp. appliqués aux productions maraîchères de la zone sub-saharienne (Trichoderma). Burkina Faso
  3. Stemming Aflatoxin pre- and post-harvest waste in the groundnut value chain (GnVC) in Malawi and Zambia to improve food and nutrition security in the smallholder farming families. Malawi-Zambia 
  4. Enhancing nutrition security and incomes through adding value to indigenous vegetables in East and Central Uganda (Indigenous Veg.). Uganda
An amount of Euros 250,000 has been granted to each project. The 4 projects have been launched end of October 2014 and have since November 2014 started implementing their activities. At the beginning of 2015, the FARA M&E Specialist visited all of them and helped establishing the baseline and indicators for ease tracking the progress. Some of these projects have sent quarterly technical and financial reports. The objectives of the Planning meeting were to:
  • review progress made so far in implementing planned activities (challenges encountered will also discussed),
  • develop work plans for year 2 and 3
  • discuss year 1 reporting template (technical and financial) and verification procedures slated in November 2015
  • review (if necessary) M& E indicators of the project
The field visit was made to the town of Zogbodomey  situated about 250 km from Cotonou. After a brief presentation of the activities of the Union Communale des Producteurs de Zogbodomey (UCP Z), one of Prosam partners, the Union exposed the different products based on soy. The exhibited products  were soy milk, soy afitin, soy cheese, soy skewers. 

A demonstration of milk production processes and soy afitin from raw material to finished product was made by women processors. During the transformation process, they expressed the different constraints they face in the exercise of their activity. In terms of milk, the main constraint is the stabilization problem of preserving milk. 

One factor which is unfavorable to commercialization is the ignorance of the organoleptic qualities and benefits of afitin based on soy compared to afitin based on néré (which is still  most commonly used and known).

See full meeting report:
Revue à mi-parcours et présentation de rapports pour la première année et réunion de planification de deuxième année pour les projets de recherche à fonds compétitifs (CRF) de PAEPARD II
Hôtel Ste Jeanne d’Arc de Cotonou, les 23, 24 et 25 juin 2015
11 pages

Presentations during the workshop

Technologie traditionnelle actuelle
Aperçu sur la visite de terrain et la technologie améliorée à développer
La visite de terrain organisée lors de l’atelier de planification des quatre projets CRF a été faite dans la commune de Zogbodomey située à 250 km environ de Cotonou. Après une brève présentation des activités de l’Union Communale des Producteurs de Zogbodomey (UCP Z), l’une des partenaires de ProSAM, les transformatrices de l’UCP-Z ont exposé les différents produits dérivés de soja. Les produits exhibés sont entre autres le lait de soja, afitin à base de soja, le fromage de soja, les brochettes de soja. 

Technologie améliorée à développer
Une démonstration des procédés de production du lait et afitin à base de soja depuis la matière première jusqu’au produit fini a été faite par les femmes transformatrices. Au cours des processus de transformation, elles ont exprimé les différentes contraintes qu’elles rencontrent dans l’exercice de leur activité. Au niveau du lait, la contrainte principale est le problème de stabilisation et de conservation du lait. Au niveau de afitin à base de soja, la méconnaissance des qualités organoleptique et des avantages du produit par rapport à afitin à base de néré est un facteur défavorable à sa commercialisation. 

ProSAM vise l’amélioration des technologies de transformation du Soja en lait et en "Afitin". Le schéma ci-dessous indique la technologie traditionnelle actuelle des femmes et la technologie améliorée vers laquelle le CRF- SOJAGNON du Bénin veut aboutir / développer.

Published on 4 Sep 2015
Améliorer la chaine alimentaire des dérivés du soja (lait et afintin) pour une meilleure sécurité alimentaire des populations vulnérables, c'est l'objectif du Projet Soja Afintin (ProSAM) financé par l'UE à travers le PAEPARD de FARA. Huit mois après le lancement de ce projet, une visite de terrain dans la commune de Zogbodomey au Bénin a été organisée à l'attention des différents acteurs venus des quatre coins du monde dans le cadre dudit projet. Le présent numéro de Agro Mag renseigne sur la chaine de valeur du soja au Bénin, les raisons justificatives du Projet et les temps forts de la visite de terrain.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Opportunities for commercialization and research

Opportunities for commercialization and research under the banana, coffee, and sorghum value chains in Kenya and Uganda
Hannington Odame, Joseph Methu, Elosy Kangai, Doris Akishule, Willis Owino and Christine Alokit
Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) 2014. 
Date Published: Friday, 19 June 2015, 140 pages

In the quest to make the transfer of agricultural innovations and management practices from research to end-users easier, ASARECA has released a new book listing existing agricultural technologies with the potential to be commercialized.
This inventory of best bet technologies also includes innovations that are still in the pipeline, but have the potential to be adopted for incubation.

UniBRAIN is executed by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). The programme is supported with a total budget of 130 million DKK (2010-2015). A UniBRAIN Facility has been set-up within FARA’s premises in Ghana, Accra which it is tasked with the responsibilities of programme implementation, programme development and liaisons with partners of the programme.

The programme has enabled the creation and establishment of incubator consortia in the following five countries: Ghana, Mali, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya. The consortia have developed and established the following six incubators:
  1. Creating Competitive Livestock Entrepreneurs in Agribusiness (CCLEAr), Ghana. This incubator is dedicated to promote commercialization of smallholder livestock (poultry, small ruminants and grass cutter).
  2. West African Agribusiness Resource Incubator (WAARI), Mali. The focus is on non-timber agro-forestry products, cereals and fruits.
  3. The Agribusiness Incubation Trust (AgBIT), Zambia. The incubator is concerned with value-chains related to tropical fruit and vegetables.
  4. Afri Banana Products Limited (ABP Ltd), Uganda. The focus is on staple food and cash crops - initially within the specific value chain of banana.
  5. Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD), Uganda. The incubator’s value proposition is on plantation and cash crop value-chain enhancement with an initial focus on coffee.
  6. Sorghum Value-Chain Development Consortium (SVCDC), Kenya. The incubator works with smallholder dry land food grains focusing on sorghum.

Friday, June 19, 2015

African Agribusiness Consortium

8 June 2015. Harvard, US. Interview with Mary Shelman, Director of Agribusiness Program, Harvard Business School

Skye Lawrence, Africa Agribusiness Magazine, spoke with Mary Shelman, the Director of the Agribusiness Program at Harvard Business School.

She discusses with him the project called the
African Agribusiness Consortium which consists of six African business schools in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya that are developing agribusiness management courses. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports the Consortium’s goals of building capacity in the agricultural sector using action learning and case studies specifically tailored to the African context.

Farm mechanization to enhance sustainable productivity

Recently, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) provided a five-day training for farmers drawn from different states aimed to promote farm mechanization and to enhance sustainable productivity at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

CIMMYT takes farm mechanization scheme from Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) initiative and creates opportunities for smallholder farm households to move out of
hunger and poverty through sustainably intensified farming systems that improve food, nutrition, and income security.

The Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification (FACASI)
project addresses the decline of farm power in Africa. The project is working with smallholder farmers to deliver small mechanization based on inexpensive, two-wheeled tractors and introduce power saving technologies.

Eastern Africa Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) Policy Dialogue

Participants who attended the East Africa Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services Regional Dialogue at hotel Africana pose for a picture with the minister of agriculture, animal Industry and Fisheries, Tress Buchanayandi. Photo/Prossy Nandudu
16-18 June 2015. Kampala, Uganda. The aim of the Eastern Africa Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) Policy Dialogue is to assess and strengthen capacity for AEAS policy analysis and discussion at the country level in order to support on-going efforts within the region to improve agricultural extension and advisory services provision.

However the executive director of the African Forum for Agriculture Advisory services (AFAAS) Dr.Silim Nahndy explained that the above can only work if the implementers are given adequate skills especially on how to use the upcoming technologies in farming like mobile phones.

He said that currently there are new technologies which must be embraced by extension workers if they are to become relevant in the farming system.
"Extension service is no longer on how best one draws the lines for planting crops but on how best one can use the available tools and technologies to deliver information on the new farming systems," said Nahdy.

The meeting organised by AFAAS in partnership with GFRAS, MEAS and GIZ was aimed at understanding the monitoring tool kit that was formulated by the global system for quick evaluation and monitoring such that when one wants evidence on how extension services are making an impact or not, they can find it, adds Silim Nahdy.

This is to help AFAAS in implement its extension reforms in the GIZ supported countries for increased production and food security. AFAAS, GFRAS, MEAS, and GIZ - in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture Uganda

Desert land conference

16-17 June 2015. Ghent, Belgium. Second Desert land conference. This conference brought together research institutions, NGO's and corporations that help cope with the problems of Desertification and Land Degradation. 

Desert Land II offered a unique opportunity to find out how projects of the past have made a difference and how the future problems should be tackled:(a) Combating Desertification (processes, prevention and combating land degradation in drylands). With a special session on European policy concerning land degradation; (b) Water security: soilh ydrology and processes and control of land degradation. Degradation (in cooperation with UNESCO IHP Belgian Committee)
Extract of the program related to Africa:
  • Effects of steep mountain rehabilitation on peak discharge variability - the case of western Rift Valley escarpment of Northern Ethiopia, Asfaha Tesfaalem Ghebreyohannes (Ethiopia)
  • Effect of conservation agriculture on maize yield under rain fed agriculture in semi-arid region of Kenya Nyambura Geofrey (Kenya)
  • Application of different approaches for detection and delineation of leakage path from Micro-Dam Reservoir (MDR) in Northern Ethiopia, Gebremedhin Berhane Reda (Ethiopia)
  • Decomposition of cattle dung and pattern of nutrient release in sandy soil under semi-arid condition - a case study in northeastern Burkina Faso, Tanaka Ueru (Japan)
  • Soil properties after change From ridge tillage to conservation agriculture: impact on soil properties of sandy clay loams of mid-altitude Central Malawi, Wim Cornelis (Belgium)
  • Optimizing rainwater partitioning and pearl millet production on degraded land in Niger using Water and Soil Conservation practices,  Wim Cornelis (Belgium)

The value chain in Mediterranean sheep and goats

16-18 June 2015. Montpellier, France. A seminar of the FAO-CIHEAM Network on Sheep and Goats was organised on the topic "The value chain in Mediterranean sheep and goats. Industry organisation, marketing strategies, feeding and production systems"

The overall contents of the seminar discussed:

  • the concepts and study methodologies and impact of the sector governance related to the value chain of the Mediterranean sheep and goats products, 
  • and how to optimise their added value through the production systems. 

In the two specific sessions on nutrition, the topics targeted feeding to produce quality products in vulnerable and intensive production systems, and digestion, performance and product quality on small ruminants exposed to environmental stress. See the pogramme.

High Level Meeting on "No more food to waste"

35 parties, including 16 ministers, and high level representatives of international organizations, NGO's, universities, international research organizations and international business participated in this meeting. During the meeting, the draft outcome and pitches for action were discussed. 3 thematic areas which are crucial to reduce food loss and food waste formed the heart of the discussion:
  • information gaps and data collection; 
  • actions at strategic level 
  • and actions on the ground (“best practices").
The conference is an important step towards active partnerships, new funding structures and effective policy models. Participants from more than 55 countries are working together these 4 days to find solutions to stop food waste and food losses.